Tuesday, May 7, 2013

broody hen {part 2}

Well that didn't work!  The moment we placed her in the new coop she stopped sitting.  She wouldn't go anywhere near the nesting box.  She paced and made such a racket!  After about three hours of hoping she would sit, and her NOT sitting, I moved her back into the original coop.

That afternoon we picked up our fertilized eggs.  After marking each one with a small "X", we put them all under her and she cozied herself right up on top.  The next morning an egg was missing.  By that afternoon, another one had been eaten.  With a little investigating, we found that our barred rock was standing under the nesting box (that is chicken wire on the bottom so the poop will fall through) pecking at the eggs and eating them.  We had to come up with a Plan B, fast!

I moved said barred rock (she does have a name- and it is Bumblebee) into the smaller coop, and put another chicken in there to keep her company.  They pecked a little, re-establishing the pecking order in the new coop, and then went about their merry way.  Fast forward 21 days.

The chicks began hatching!  It was like magic!  We could hear them peeping through their shells, and the eggs were shaking.  Two hatched successfully, while one did not.  We found that little one had been cleared out of the nest right after hatching.  I was amazed to see how clean mama kept her nest.  All egg shells, and any other debris were quickly discarded down below.

After a few days of waiting and worrying, we decided that we were only going to get the two chicks out of the deal, so we quietly moved the other eggs out.  Mama hen immediately got up and began stretching her legs.  She went down to the water and drank for a very long time.  Just like that, she was done nesting and was ready to mother.


This was an absolute learning experience for me.  No matter what I read, or who I asked, no one could speak directly to this experience.  Because every time it is different and has its own variables.  Here are some things I learned:

  • I will move the mother hen much earlier next time.  Probably 2-3 days before getting the fertilized eggs in.
  • I will place fresh water and food next to her, instead of shooing her off of her nest to the waterer in place.


Kim Corrigan-Oliver said...

How wonderful. Thanks for sharing, this is something we want to try doing one day with our hens.

Rosie_Kate said...

wow! Congratulations on a successful hatch! Yes, broody hen logistics can be a bit difficult to manage. Glad you figured out what to do!

We recently had three chicks hatch in a duck nest (where a savvy chicken hid some eggs) and we took them out and are raising them in the house. They're very tame, that's for sure. Today we were gone all day and the chicks got out of their box and... well I'm sure you can imagine. We also had two mama ducks hatch three chicks each. The babies are coming in threes for some reason. Usually the ducks hatch a lot more than that...

And in answer to your question, no, no baby yet, but I'm not technically due yet, but soon... I'm just ready to be done. All things in good time.

Angi Schneider said...

How fun! We're wanting to hatch some eggs this fall. Thanks for sharing your experience.

I came over from SouleMama, I saw your comment about Round Top. We live along the Gulf Coast and thought I'd take a peak at your blog. It's lovely, I enjoyed my time here.